Born in Altötting in Bavaria in 1965, he studied documentary filmmaking at the HFF in Munich from 1985-92. He was a fellow of the Munich Screenwriting Workshop, and subsequently took up studies in screenwriting at UCLA in the USA.
He made his debut as a feature film director in 1996 with Nach Fünf im Urwald, which featured talented newcomer Franka Potente in the leading role. After Potente, Schmid also made further discoveries for the screen in the shape of August Diehl and Tom Schilling.
Each of his subsequent features: 23 (1998), Crazy and Distant Lights received a Silver German Film Award. (Berlin film festival)